Petition for a hearing on the human rights impacts of U.S. wars
Iraqis and U.S. military veterans are coming together to hold the U.S. government accountable for the lasting effects of war and to demand the right to heal.
Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, represented by the Center for Consitutional Rights, are working together to highlight the lack of accountability for the serious, widespread, and ongoing human rights violations of Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. military veterans, from more than ten years of U.S. war with the Right to Heal Initiative.
We are requesting a hearing in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the Organization of American States. If the hearing is agreed to, this inter-American body will call forth U.S. government officials to respond to our case. Such a hearing will raise the profile of these issues, lend our movement legitimacy in pushing for recognition of our human rights, and be an important step in holding the U.S. government accountable for violating them.
Your signature will help demonstrate the widespread support for such a hearing.
Will you sign on to a letter of support for this hearing?
Check out the Right to Heal Initiative's work here.
Read the letter below, then add your name.
Emilio Álvarez Icaza
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Re.: Letter in Support of Thematic Hearing on Human Rights Impacts of the U.S.-led Decade of War
Dear Secretary Álvarez Icaza:
We, the undersigned individuals, advocates and human rights organizations, write to support the request for a thematic hearing entitled Human Rights Impacts of the U.S.-led Decade of War. We express great concern about the lack of accountability for the serious, widespread and ongoing human rights violations resulting from over a decade of the U.S.-initiated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The effects of these wars will be felt for a long time to come by those sent to fight them and by the communities where they have been fought.
In addition to the killings and casualties, and evidence of war crimes which have in many cases have gone unaddressed, these wars have had a lasting impact on the health of communities in Iraq and Afghanistan and on U.S. service members.
The U.S. military’s use of certain munitions and burn pits has an apparent link to increasing rates of cancer, birth defects and other health issues in communities in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as among active duty U.S. military personnel and returning veterans. For example, Haweeja, Iraq has seen a sharp rise in serious birth defects after a U.S. base was installed and began testing munitions;
Failure to treat the physical and mental injuries suffered by service members has affected the service members themselves, their communities at home and, when redeployed, communities in the theaters of war;
Gender-based and sexual violence, as a weapon and by-product of war has had a deeply traumatic and wide reaching impact on women and men in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those in the military who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST).
The war in Afghanistan continues. In Iraq, a U.S.-established government represses a growing civil society movement while selling off the country’s natural resources to multinational companies. Little has been done to begin to address the myriad of human rights violations that have taken place and continue to take place as a result of the wars. We come together in solidarity with those most directly impacted by the wars to envision a different way forward: one that re-prioritizes the value of human life, health and dignity, and is committed to the principle of accountability, including acknowledgement of and reparations for the harm caused.
We therefore write to express our support of the request for a thematic hearing submitted to this Commission in January 2014 by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.